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DES exposure in utero linked to earlier menopause

Women who were exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol (DES) have an increased chance of early menopause, according to a study in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Women who were exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol (DES) have an increased chance of early menopause, according to a study in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Elizabeth E. Hatch, PhD, of Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues conducted a study of 4,210 DES-exposed women and 1,829 non-exposed controls. They found that those in the former group were 50% more likely to experience earlier menopause compared with their non-exposed counterparts.

The effect was dose-dependent. Among those exposed to more than 10,000 mg, there was a more than twofold risk. The most affected were the daughters of women in the Dieckmann cohort who participated in a clinical trial of DES in the early 1950s.

Hatch EE, Triosi R, Wise LA, et al. Age at natural menopause in women exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero. Am J Epidemol. 2006;164:682-688.